Information technology staff part of AFMAO’s quiet professionals

  • Published
  • By Cory Larsen
  • AFMAO Operations Support Branch chief
When most people think about Information Technology the first thing they think of is computers. This could not be further from the truth here at Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The team of IT professionals: Kevin "Mac" McGarrigle, Stephen Cortes and Senior Airman Justin Palmer have many other responsibilities most people may not be aware of.

In today's high tech world every successful organization needs a strong IT staff and fortunately for AFMAO, the team here is among the best.

They are the security control element for the mortuary with responsibility for the Access Control System (door swipes), ID card Management and Video Surveillance ensuring our sacred mission remains controlled.

In addition they ensure AFMAO remains connected to the outside world by maintaining the Siemens, Nortel and Blackberry telephone systems and video teleconference system.

The Mortuary Operations Management System is a one-of-a-kind program that is the brainchild of mortuary veterans and created in part by the devotion and vision of Mac who is the primary caretaker of the program that has successfully tracked tens of thousands of human remains.

MOMS allows AFMAO to ensure 100 percent accountability of every fallen service member from the time they enter the Port Mortuary until they depart, giving the families peace of mind their loved ones are in good hands.

Not only does MOMS track our fallen, it is also the conduit for supporting all logistical, financial and contracting support for AFMAO; tracking more than $6 million in supplies and equipment and is the main point of reference for all commercial contracts.

Additionally they maintain what non-IT people consider IT, such as desktop/laptop computers, printers, scanners, copiers, Information Assurance officers, Air Force Network account managers, the Records Program Management and more. The list goes on to include providing hands-on IT support to the Armed Forces Medical Examiner investigators for the start of every remains processing event.

To give you a sense of perspective on just how amazing the IT staff is, the 436th Medical Group has 267 users of IT systems and their IT staff has 10 personnel while AFMAO has more than 150 users and a staff of only three.

"In general, little is accomplished in our mission without some form of assistance from our IT team," said AFMAO Commander, Col. John Devillier. "They truly provide the glue to keep our operations moving forward, whether in terms of accountability of remains, facility security or general electronic correspondence.

"The IT team members are unsung heroes who have played key roles in AFMAO's 'Excellent' inspection rating and our recent recognition as HAF/A1's 'Team of the Year'' added Devillier. We can't accomplish our mission without these quiet professionals!"